The role of a grandparent is a special and unique one. Here are some reasons why parents and kids appreciate how special grandparents are.
Most apparent is the availability of a free and reliable babysitting service. With grandparent's you never have to worry about the babysitter canceling at the last minute or coming home after a way overdue date night to find the sitter on the phone and a pile of dishes in the sink. Oh, and it's free!
Another great perk is that grandparents never get tired. It is amazing! They can swing, rock, and walk with a crying baby for hours. After you have tried everything and just can't rock or hush anymore - grandma will willingly take over to soothe that little bundle of joy. Grandparents relieve us from our duties temporarily. It gives us a chance to gain our composure and even take a shower!
A grandparent will indulge your child's gratuitous appetite. In a world of homemade baby food, tofu, and organic everything there is an extreme amount of pressure to feed your kids properly. While this move towards educating ourselves and our children about health and nutritious is warranted and desperately needed in this country it can be exhausting. And let's face it...it is expensive. Grandparents give your children a chance to enjoy a can of Chef Boyardee without the guilt. No one is going to lecture a grandma on the preservatives and artificial ingredients in Americana comfort food. So, let grandma and grandpa wield off the stares from the other parents as they indulge your kid in a Happy Meal with fries instead of apple slices!
They will also put the current parenting trends into perspective. As parents, it's natural to want to provide the best life possible for your children, full of opportunity and stimulation. It seems like everywhere we turn around another expert is trying to convince us to follow their parenting method or to buy their product. It is exhausting trying to keep up. Grandparents remind us that the best thing for our children is genuine love, genuine attention, and genuine time. We don't have to buy the trendiest educational toys or take every parenting class offered at the hospital. Know that education and stimulation begin in the home first. You can make anything a learning game - use fruit loops to teach colors and counting. Use words to teach language. Grandparents take you back to a simpler time when a cardboard box was all that was needed for a day's worth of fun.
Grandparents allow us to make mistakes. The fear of making mistakes in parenting choices can be a crippling one. Parent's struggle everyday to make the best decisions for their kids and families. When to reprimand, and when to let it go... when to stand your ground and when to give in. Parents will inevitably make the wrong decisions sometime despite their valiant efforts. Grandparents remind us that we turned out okay! It is through remembering our childhood that we are reminded that children will remember some of our mistakes into adulthood but many will become a forgotten memory. We are good parents and good people despite our parent's mistakes. ..and our kids will be too.
Finally, they provide your children an opportunity to experience an entirely different kind of love that parents cannot provide. Yes it is unconditional and yes it is all consuming like a parents love...but it must be different somehow. A child is the product of love...a grandchild is like the product of love but doubled. For a grandparent, it must be a constant reminder that they found love in their lifetime and their child has also. What an amazing accomplishment.